CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Hi, my name is **. First let me say my first trip with Amtrak wasn't too bad, even though our bedroom on Southwest Chief was very cold. I had to put plastic over our vent. Second we booked another trip from Chicago to Seattle a few years later on the Empire builder hoping to see Glacier Nat. Park. According to the schedule we were supposed to have arrived there on the way to Seattle at approx. 6:30 pm in evening, which would have been perfect so you could see sunset. Never happened, we arrived there around midnight pitch black outside. I was peeping through the window hoping to see a snow ball anything.
We booked a roundtrip, and we were supposed to arrive there on. The way back at approx. 7:00 AM never happened, because they cancelled the trip back because of flooding in Montana and South Dakota. I was totally steaming because the only reason we booked trip was basically to see Glacier park. Amtrak refunded return trip fares. So we had to fly back or take coach back on another train which would take 3 days. I love Amtrak so please get it right or leave it alone... I haven't given up on you yet.
PORTLAND, OREGON, ILLINOIS -- On or about November 3, 2011, I purchased an Amtrak ticket to travel from Portland, Oregon to Staples, Minnesota. Since I bought a roomette, the ticket cost just over $600. A couple of days later, I discovered that the ticket wasn't in my purse, where I usually keep it. I called the company, gave them my confirmation number, then the agent hung up on me! I am on disability SSI so this ticket cost me a whole month's pay. What do I do? I cannot lose this amount of money, but I am willing to receive another ticket instead of the money returned. Thank you for your time and consideration.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- The leg of our son's trip from Atlanta to Greenville was "cancelled" and he was told to get off the train. This is at 9:30 at night. No buses were available, so they suggested he call a cab (for a three hour trip!) The Amtrak office then shut down and left our son and his luggage standing on the sidewalk in dangerous downtown Atlanta. He had to call someone to drive hours to pick him up. Ridiculous. We have called, emailed, and waited for hours on hold - finally we received a phone call (6 weeks later) to tell us no refund will be given, and the customer service representative would not listen to our situation and actually hung up on us. Some customer service!
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- When returning from a trip out west, the train to pick us up in Minot, ND was late by 6 hours. This made us miss our connection in Chicago. We had to spend the night in Chicago and because the train we were to catch was full as far as roomettes were concerned, we had to take coach between Chicago and Washington, DC. They said there would be a $199 refund for the difference. We have been waiting for this refund since May 20th. When I call to investigate, I usually wait 30 to 45 minutes on hold till someone picks up. This puts me over my minutes and I pay extra. If they had not told me we would get a refund, I would not be pursuing it.
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA -- On May 31, 2012, I had the train rider from hell. I boarded the train in Columbia, S.C. At 4:00 am on Thursday morning. I usually get a sleeper but I got a coach, which I will never, ever do again. I am 62 yrs old, a senior citizen disabled. No one helped me with my luggage. My seat was moved 3 times. I was fixing to buy a sleeper coach when I got to Virginia, but since my ATM card didn't have the bank logo just the name, they would not accept it. I had closed out my old account and open up a new one, that's the reason it did not have the logo sign.
I was freezing, no blanket just a pillow. I was miserable all the way home. I was so glad to get off that train, until I had tears in my eyes. When I did get to my house, I wasn't able to move, or get out of the bed, that ride was so uncomfortable! I don't believe I will ever ride a train again. Then when I arrived in Newark, my luggage was not there, I had to send my niece and nephew back to get it the next day. The service on the train was horrible, except this one Spanish lady. I did not get her name. I feel I should be reimbursed my money. I am not happy with Amtrak right about now! My name is **.
Someone I know is relocating from the east coast to the NW. They told me about this service Amtrak offers called Amtrak Express Shipping.
As anyone knows who has ever had to move long distance, moving/shipping companies are very expensive, even if you are just moving boxes and no furniture. I never even knew Amtrak has this service, and I'm wondering how many others know about this? It's not just for people moving, but for anyone shipping anything.
Here's how it works. You can ship up to 500 lbs in one day. Everything needs to be in cardboard boxes which have to be under 50 lbs each. You also don't need a reservation. You just show up at the station and drop it off. After it gets to destination (2-5 days), you have two days to pick it up.
The cost is $67 for the first 100 lbs, then $.57 per additional lb. So, if you ship 500 pounds, it will cost you a max of $295. That is way cheaper than any other moving/shipping company you will ever find. Of course, if you're moving furniture, this service will not work. But, after paying several thousand dollars for a moving company, your furniture could probably be replaced for less (at least for most people).
This could also be a great alternative when shipping packages at Christmas (or any other time of the year).
I will update after they use the service and let you know if it worked as well as it sounds.
01/04/2010 on train #4 the South West Chief, approx 8:25 am, I asked the sleeping car attendant, did I need a slip or anything to take to the dining car to get breakfast, she said no, just go in, the servers would give me a slip, just sign my name and room number. I went into the dining area, I sat there at least 15 min, before any came to get my order.
When the server came, I asked for a cup of coffee, and told him I would like to place my order, he told me I was going to have to wait a while, because I should have had the sleeping car attendant sign papers for me to get our food, other people was coming in from the sleeping cars, and not once did he tell them, they should have had the attendant sign any papers. I kept waiting at least 30 min, he still didn't wait on me, he served 6 people that came in after me, by now I was getting really upset. He finally did bring my coffee, still hadn't taken my order.
I asked him if he were going to take my order, he told me, "You are going to have to wait, I have got to get your slips signed by the room attendant." I told him, "You haven't told anybody else You had to get the sleeping car attendant to sign the slips before You serve them," I threw the coffee and the cup on the floor, and I asked them were they prejudice. I said "is it because I am black, You won't serve me?"
Then the other server came running up there and said "I will take care of You right away." By that time I was so upset, my language, was anything but appropriate, the server escorted me out of the dining area. I went back to my room, the attendant said "why did it take You so long?" I told her what happen, she said, I don't sign the slips before You go down, they give You the slip in the dining area. You sign it, and put your room number on it, then they give the slips to me and I signs them. She said I will go down and get you and your husband's food from now on. The train was coming from Los Angeles final stop Chicago IL.
From reading the comments,I have learned, I went about handling the situation the wrong way.
In October of 2007, my wife and I (65 years old) began a two thousand dollar Amtrak trip in a standard roomette. We were soon subjected to stultifying high temperatures and a lack of ventilation in our 6 and-a-half by 3 and-a-half foot compartment. The unsmiling, condescending and insolent conductors professed helplessness in the face of the oppressive conditions, and when I asked one of the conductors what his name was, he immediately covered his identity badge with his hand!
We continued to object to these conditions, and finally the conductor had the train stopped, called in local marshals, and ejected my wife and I from the train in the middle of the night.
We were forced to quickly pack all of our luggage and drag our bags off the train without any assistance. We had our tickets confiscated, and were left standing in the dark around midnight, after being told that we were forever banned from Amtrak trains. However, we were not the only couple who was profoundly distressed by our Amtrak experience. When the conductor overheard me speaking to one of the marshals about this, he immediately returned our tickets to us and offered my wife and I the option of getting back on the train the following day! What was it that I told the Marshall? That approximately 12 hours before, another couple had been kicked off the train with the accompaniment of the police for complaining about the suffocating conditions!
It's one thing that Amtrak charges high prices for the honor of occupying a tiny bedroom in one of their obsolete railcars. It's another thing if in addition, the service personnel are generally rude, insulting and sadistic. The only exception to this would be in the dining car where a gratuity is expected.
My wife and I sued Amtrak for this abusive service and our abandonment in an unknown town in the middle of the night. We won with little difficulty.
It seems Amtrak has a stable of attorneys on call to take care of litigations of this type. Make sure you are prepared with adequate legal support the next time you travel Amtrak.
I ride AMTRAK several times a year and noticed on my most recent trip that the on board personal are friendlier than they've been in years past. I must admit that transcontinental routes are consistently late but California AMTRAK trains are very reliable when it comes to on time performance.